1. It reminds me The fisherman story:
I guess most of you know this story, so I'll make it really short: a rich guy approaches a fisherman and tries to convince him to leverage his business (e.g., take some VAs to fish for you and in that time open "the grand fisherman mall").
The fisherman asks why should he do that and the rich man answers that he will become as rich as he and when he'll get rich he'll have the time to do all the things he likes, like fishing...
Why people write articles and syndicate them?
Cause they want more link juice.
Why do they need link juice?
Cause they want to rank high their site.
Why do they want to rank high their site?
Cause they want more traffic to their site.
Why more traffic?
Cause they want to sell more.
(lets stop here ).
So, wouldn't it be better to drive the traffic directly from the syndicated articles? And even better, make the traffic that comes from the articles more "purchase ready"?
I can tell you as the owner of a UGC site, that the difference in effort between an article written to bring traffic/sell in many cases is very similar to the effort that is put into a "MFB" (made for backlinks) article.
Even when we exclude the spam-spun-non-readable articles we'll see that the most of the other 95% articles are still MFB.
Here are some answers and my thoughts about them
1. It will take much more time (or money) to create an article that people will actually read and eventually click the link to my site to buy my product.
That's not true if you know your niche and your market. You don't need to write a master piece, all you need to do is make the reader think "wow, this guy knows what he is talking about". To accomplish that you don't need to do much, you only need to:
Give some new piece of information about the subject that is not a common knowledge
Lets say it takes you 20min to produce a MFB article and 2 hours to create a real one. I believe that if you made a real, good quality, original article, in its life time it will make you the money/time you spent writing it (if the basic are done like a decent call to action, some basic SEO work etc.).
The beauty of it is that you don't "lose" the backlinks, you do both. So, in "one strike" you got yourself a traffic generator and effective backlinks (I'll discuss it below).
But, one can write a lot of MFB articles and build lots of backlinks while with this "traffic generator articles" you build so few backlinks.
The answer to this is:
2. In most cases these backlinks worth almost nothing.
When Google created their algorithm they did something brilliant, they took the basic aspects of academic article ranking mechanism and transformed it into Internet pages ranking algorithm.
The basic is very simple: if a very respected academic journal quotes a researcher, it gives the researcher points (depends on the university, but each researcher needs to achieve certain amount of these points every year - don't know the exact details but in general thats how it works).
So, all Google needed to do, is to create a mechanism that gives points to pages that get links from other respected pages. Of course it is a bit more complicated than that, so lots of "not so respected pages" can give you the same amount of points like a link from one very respected page.
And that is where spam and SEO "tricks" started to make Google algorithm become less effective.
In real life there are few low-quality academic journals and they are considered low-quality only by comparison to the other journals (if you'd read them you'll think they are quite good).
In the Internet there are endless sites, and low quality rules
So, how can Google know if a recommendation is good or bad?
Imagine walking in a mall and you see there a very charismatic good looking ~45 years old man, telling people to go into a specific shop. When you approach and asks him why he recommends that shop he tells you that he has a PHd in economics and according to several surveys he conducted this shop is the cheapest with the best products.
Up to this point, if you were Google, until recently you would rank highly that shop, wouldn't you?
But, then you notice that almost no one from the people that man talked to is actually entering the shop and the few that do enter, getting out in few seconds.
This will tell you two things:
1. The shop is lousy.
2. The recommender sucks.
This is where Google is going now, and actually already implemented some (don't ask me for proofs, I see it happen, its logical, but no proofs yet).
Google is/will rank a backlink according to the combination of the percentage of clicks it gets and the time spent on referred site.
When you think of it, its perfectly logical, how else can you test the effectiveness of a recommendation?
So, those MFB articles that their backlinks get very low CTR and then the visitors running away from the referred sites have a very low "link juice power".
I think that with time it will get even more drastic and backlinks that are not clicked and the user behavior after the click will not imply to be positive will have no power at all.
Kill two birds in one strike, create content that will bring you traffic that will eventually convert and the backlinks will be also very powerful!